Cultural activities - A new initiative in preventing stress

Student thesis: Master thesis (including HD thesis)

  • Carina Kruse Christiansen
  • Louise Dissing
  • Titti Meling Berge
4. term, Public Health, Master (Master Programme)
Background: Stress is an increasing problem to public health. There is increasing prevalence of
stress in Denmark, despite a massive range of stress preventive interventions. Stress is having an
impact on both society as a hole and the individuals within it. Stress is also a complex term, since
the cause of stress is different for each person. Furthermore, it is individual and dependent on the
individual's resources, how stress is handled. This indicates that the current interventions fail to
accommodate the complexity of stress, this creates a potential for change. Within the field of preventive
interventions against stress, there is a new tendency towards a salutogenic focus that uses
cultural activities.
Aim: The purpose of this master is to study how cultural activities can improve the individuals
copingstrategy. In addition, illuminate the options and limitations in the use of cultural activities as
a preventive intervention for a municipal, for the municipal to change its cause of action in the field
of stress preventive interventions.
Method: Medical Research Council Guidelines is used as the main framework, and is based on
Antonovsky’s theory sense of coherence (SOC) and Bandura’s theory of Self-efficacy. To cover the
problem, this master is based on a case Culturevitamins at the municipality of Aalborg. Participative
observations are made of two activities and individual interviews are conducted by four participants
from the intervention. In addition, a literature study is conducted based on a systematic search
strategy including the individual activities. This is done to illustrate what evidence exists regarding
use of cultural activities in relation to stress. Furthermore, a hermeneutic analysis strategy is used
for a deeper understand the phenomenon of stress management.
Results: The qualitative studies show that the participants of the cultural activities can increase
their copingstrategy through good experiences, increased resources, as well as strengthen the belief
in their own abilities, partly because there is no focus on illness. The function of the employment
center, regarding recruitment of participants for the Culturalvitamins, can be improved as the participants
experience inadequate information. The studies also show, that social relations between participants
and the cultural coordinator, the cultural guides and the other participants are of great importance
to coping with stress. Moreover, the concept of the intervention can by repetitive activities,
longer courses and fewer sessions per week contribute to an increased ability to cope with stress.
However, several of the informants request concrete techniques to handle their own situation. Few
articles emerged from the literature review, and the literature suggests that cultural activities can’t
stand alone when coping with stress.
Conclusion: There is a potential for change by using cultural activities as a preventive intervention
of stress. However cultural activities can’t stand alone, techniques in coping with stress must support
the activities. There is little evidence regarding use of cultural activities as a preventive measure
of stress, and further research is recommended.
Publication date7 Jun 2018
Number of pages237
External collaboratorAalborg Kommune
Mikael Odder Nielsen
ID: 280518675